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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 40:9-18 (2000)  -  doi:10.3354/dao040009

Use of RT-PCR for diagnosis of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) in carrier sea trout Salmo trutta after experimental infection

M. Devold, B. Krossøy, V. Aspehaug, A. Nylund*

Department of Fisheries and Marine Biology, University of Bergen, 5020 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: The emergence of infectious salmon anaemia virus (ISAV) in Canada and Scotland and frequent new outbreaks of the disease in Norway strongly suggest that there are natural reservoirs for the virus. The main host for the ISA virus is probably a fish occurring in the coastal area, most likely a salmonid fish. Since sea trout is an abundant species along the Norwegian coast, common in areas where ISA outbreaks occur, and possibly a life-long carrier of the ISA virus, a study was initiated to evaluate reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for diagnosis of the virus in experimentally infected trout. Several tissues (kidney, spleen, heart and skin) were collected from the trout during a 135 d period. The following diagnostic methods for detection of the ISA virus were compared: cell culture (Atlantic Salmon Kidney, ASK cells), challenge of disease-free salmon with blood from the infected trout, and RT-PCR. The RT-PCR was the most sensitive of these methods. With the help of this technique it was possible to pick out positive individuals throughout the experimental period of 135 d. Challenge of disease-free salmon were more sensitive than cell culture (ASK cells). These 2 latter methods require use of the immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) or RT-PCR for verification of presence of ISA virus.

KEY WORDS: Infectious salmon anaemia virus · Salmo trutta · RT-PCR · Carrier

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